DIRECTOR Brett Ratner is suing a TV personality who called him a “rapist” on Facebook, as a seventh woman claimed he sexually harassed her.
Ratner filed the defamation lawsuit against Melanie Kohler who wrote that the 48-year-old raped her in Los Angeles “about 12 years ago”, Variety reported.
“Commencing on or about October 20, 2017, Defendant recklessly and/or intentionally posted a statement on her Facebook page claiming that ‘Brett Ratner raped [her];’ ‘Ratner was a rapist on at least one night in Hollywood about 12 years ago’; and Ratner ‘preyed on me as a drunk girl [and] forced himself upon me,’” Ratner’s lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit alleges that the statements were published falsely and with the intent to damage Ratner’s reputation.
It comes after six women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, accused the Rush Hour filmmaker of sexual harassment or misconduct in an explosive Los Angeles Times report. Ratner has strenuously denied the claims.
Now a seventh woman, stylist and Bravo reality star Leah Forester, has alleged that Ratner masturbated in front of her over a decade ago in Los Angeles.
“The whole thing was so shocking and it all happened so fast,” Forester told The New York Times. “I just remember shaking and being in the bathroom and trying mentally to figure out what to do with this experience that just happened.”
She said she struggled for years to come to terms with the alleged incident, and even went to a party for Ratner the next day.
Ratner’s lawyers dispute Forester’s account, saying Ratner’s recollection was “substantially different” and that the two were friendly at the time.
The lawyers also said attending the party the next day “is completely inconsistent with the notion that something objectionable had occurred with my client the day before”.
Ratner is the latest Hollywood heavyweight to be accused of sexual misconduct following scandals involving producer Harvey Weinstein, director James Toback, and actors Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey.
Ratner wields considerable power in Hollywood as a successful producer of big-budget action movies. He directed all three Rush Hour films, a franchise that grossed about $US850 million ($1.1 billion) worldwide.
He yesterday ended his relationship with Warner Bros, which was worth $US450 million ($586 million) and was set to end in March 2018.